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The Literary and Performing Arts

Last month we started learning about different kinds of Visual Art: architecture, ceramics, conceptual art, drawing, painting, and sculpture. Let's continue today with the Literary Arts and the Performing Arts.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines literature as "writings having excellence of form or expression and expressing ideas of permanent or universal interest." This does not usually include news journalism or technical writing, but usually includes poetry, drama, and fiction and non-fiction prose. A person who creates literature is usually called an author, a dramatist or playwright, a poet, or simply a writer.

 

By the year 2050, the whole literature of the past will have gone.

Captions 1-2, George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four: BBC TV Movie

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The author Dave Eggers wanted to have a location that was accessible from the streets.

Captions 14-15, Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.: Learn about this fun shop in Brooklyn, NY!

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The next category of types of art is the Performing Arts. Merriam-Webster defines this as "types of art (such as music, dance, or drama) that are performed for an audience." 

 

Dance as an art form, simply defined as "the art of dancing," is usually referring to contemporary dance and ballet, but may include figure skating, synchronized swimming, and some forms of gymnastics. A person who designs a dance performance is called a choreographer.

 

The inspiring story of a boy's struggle against the odds to become a ballet star.

Captions 20-21, Visit London: Top 10 London Musicals

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I came to America to become a professional dancer.

Caption 3, Another 7.4 Earthquake: Hits Japan

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Music is described by Merriam-Webster as "the art or skill of creating or performing music," although Wikipedia describes it more interestingly as "an art form whose medium is sound and silence, occurring in time." A person who performs music is a musician (or named after the instrument they play, such as a pianist, violinist, or guitarist). A person who writes music is called a composer or songwriter

 

So you write music as well, as in literally "write music?"

Captions 36-37, Bee and Flower: Interview

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This is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He was an Austrian musician and composer.

Captions 9-10, English Grammar in Use: Past Simple

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The last form of the performing arts is theater, defined by Merriam-Webster as "dramatic representation as an art or profession." Clearly, this extends beyond works performed in theaters to all forms of acting, which may also include any of the other performing arts of dance and music. Although theater and filmmaking encompass many kinds of work, the main performing artist is called an actor or actress, though it is usually best to refer to all genders of such performing artists simply as actors.

 

You're a repertory theater actor, you're expected to do everything.

Caption 14, Ask Jimmy Carter: Interview with Richard Gere

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Further Learning
Go to Yabla English and watch the videos above relating to art forms and professions. Find a tandem partner in your class and make up some sentences in English using these art words, then compare what you both came up with.

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